Malacañang on Wednesday said that the Department of Agriculture which Pres. Marcos is currently serving as its secretary and announced that it allotted some P326 Million for the onion industry for 2023 to boost its production.
The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said the interventions are under the DA’s High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).
PCO said that some P69 Million is allotted for onion production support services, including provision of seeds, seedlings, and other farm inputs. Also, P3.2 Million is allotted for irrigation network facilities and P1.9 Million for extension support, education, and training of farmers.
“The program also allotted around P6.486 Million for farm production-related machinery and equipment distribution; P2.359 Million for production facilities, and P2.5 million for postharvest and processing equipment and machinery distribution”, the PCO said.
Also, P240.575 Million will be used to construct seven onion cold storage facilities this year in key production areas, the PCO added.
It said these cold storage facilities, with up to 10,000-bag capacity, will benefit the Pangasinan Onion Growers Association in Umingan, Pangasinan and the Federation of Aritao Farmers Onion, Garlic and Ginger Association in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
Meanwhile, 20,000-bag capacity cold storage facilities will be awarded to the New Hermosa Farmers Association in Hermosa, Bataan; the Nagkakaisang Magsasaka Agricultural MPC in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, and the Valiant Primary Multipurpose Cooperative in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.
Occidental Mindoro-based onion producers under the Salvacion United Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the Samahang Gumagawa Tungong Tagumpay Multi-Purpose Cooperative in towns of Rizal and Sablayan will also receive 20,000-bag capacity cold storage facilities.
“A total of 10 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) from the MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region received financial grant totaling P40 million through the DA Enhanced Kadiwa: Sagip Sibuyas Project” PCO reported adding that more than 7,800 FCA members benefited from the project in MIMAROPA.
“Under the Sagip Sibuyas Project, eligible FCAs shall use the grant of up to P5 million for trading capital to cover the costs of procuring onions directly from farmers, hauling and delivery to markets and cold storage facilities, and storage rental,” the PCO said in a statement.
PCO added that the DA also provides market linkage services to ensure that the onion FCAs have ready markets for their produce, including fast food chains and institutional buyers.
Aside from the Sagip Sibuyas Project, MIMAROPA is one of the identified beneficiaries of the Kadiwa Food Mobilization program.
The PCO said that under this initiative, the DA, through the Agribusiness Marketing and Assistance Service, will buy produce from areas that have surplus yield to transport to areas with high demand, particularly Metro Manila.
DA sets SRP of imported red onion at P125 per kilo in Metro Manila
However, many onion sellers in Metro Manila expressed doubt that they can sell their products based on the SRP imposed by the agriculture department. Onion sellers said that despite the supply is pouring in and the price of onions are gradually going down they cannot still sell their products at the P125 per kilo as the onion prices are still high.
Farmers and consumers groups also pressed the government to continuously depend on imports; it should instead help local producers of badly needed farm subsidies including fuel and fertilizers. They are also pushing for financial aid to mitigate the impact of high production costs.
For months, onion prices have been a staple news report of various media outlets due to its persisting high prices that affects mostly ordinary consumers and farmers. There have been various efforts of lawmakers to investigate the root causes of the unprecedented price hikes but despite both farmers and officials exposing behind the collusion of smuggling and price manipulations, still not a single suspected smuggler has been formally charged.